Central City Opera Begins 2014 Festival with a (Dynamite) Bang

The mining town of Central City runs reliably like clockwork: ominous clouds followed by only light rain between 2:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon,
then a bustling Eureka Street at 5:00, and finally a starry sky at midnight above
the Rockies. On June 28, however, there was only sunlight, the traffic consisted of
waltzing fathers and daughters, and the night was starry per usual, but this time
alight with the dazzling cast and crew of Central City Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro.
Opening Night for Central City Opera’s 2014 Festival ran without a
hitch. Denverites enjoyed the balmy weather as they arrived in Central City on
Saturday afternoon in summer dresses and tuxedos. Children and grandparents, patrons
and Guild members sauntered up and down Eureka Street, annually closed off for
the opening’s festivities where cameras snap and champagne pops. The historic
Johnson House and budding Teller House Garden hosted the opera patrons as they
lounged in the sun before the day’s events began.
The Opera House basks in Saturday’s sun on its 2014 Festival’s Opening Day.

The familiar dinging of the Opera Bell rang for the first time this
season at 4:50 PM – Festival Staffer Austin Abernathy announced
that the Flower Girl presentation for the Yellow Rose Ball, Colorado’s oldest
debutante ceremony, would begin in ten minutes. Powerful as the Opera Bell is,
it was the booming dynamite blast at 5:00 PM from the staff of Hidee Gold Mine that truly kicked off
the Festival. Chairman Emeritus Lanny Martin then introduced each of the 24
Flower Girls as they gracefully descended from the top floor of the Teller
House down into its garden. Donning white gloves, the teenagers looked lovely
in lavender as they assembled one by one in front of the Opera House,
accompanied by their dapper escorts, for a photo op.
The 24 Flower Girls and their escorts pose in front of
the Opera House for a photo shoot.
Finally, General/Artistic Director Pelham “Pat” Pearce opened the Opera
House and welcomed everyone to the 2014 Festival to near-dynamite applause.
Pearce then directed everyone’s attention to the steps of St. James Methodist
Church where the ushers sang their cheeky preshow tune. “We’re the ushers who
show you to your seat, then nonchalantly we step upon your feet,” they sang,
marching to the front of the Opera House.
Once the ushers finished their song, Central City Mayor Ron Engels
presented the Opera Bell to Nancy Parker, Central City Opera’s current
president. Parker rang the bell which signaled the St. James’ chimes to open Eureka
Street for the Yellow Rose Waltz. Escorts then presented the Flower Girls to
their fathers. Fathers and daughters began waltzing, then mothers joined in,
and finally the rest of the guests until Eureka Street was swaying in three/four
time, a harmony of lavender dresses, black tuxedos, and glimmering jewelry.
Festival Services Manager Allison Taylor (blue dress)
poses with this year’s ushers/interns.
Guests next enjoyed a sumptuous meal (provided by Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group) in the Teller House before The Marriage of Figaro’s 8:00 curtain. At intermission, Flower
Girls handed out yellow nosegays to patrons so that they could be tossed onto
the stage during curtain call. By the time lead performers Michael Sumuel and
Anna Christy (as lovelorn servants Figaro and Susanna) took their bows, the stage
and orchestra pit below were flooded with flowers. The cast – joined by
conductor Adrian Kelly, director Alessandro Talevi, and his talented team of
designers – beamed as some tried to snatch the whizzing nosegays.
“[It’s a joy] watching the
principal artists rehearse and perform. As a young artist, I love observing how
they interact with the director, maestro, fellow principals, crew, and chorus,”
said Kelsey Park, a Studio Artist who plays a maid and other ensemble roles in Figaro. “We also have a blast backstage –
getting ready in the dressing rooms is an exciting adventure. We ladies enjoy a
lot of laughs.”
Fathers waltz with their daughters, the Flower Girls,
on Eureka Street on Opening Night.
the performance, the company congregated on the second floor of Williams’ Stables
for the after party. Still maintaining Figaro’s
1920s Spain concept, Lifestyles Catering provided a themed meal complete with
vegetable paella and panzanella salad with sangria, concocted by Events
Assistant Sarah Harrison complete with oranges, lemons, and limes.

Harrison had the laborious task of planning the
party and making sure that everyone, from the interns to the principal performers,
enjoyed themselves in the stables-turned-dancehall. “I had a lot of various
details in my head from logistics to food and decorations, so putting
everything together and finalizing everything was definitely the most
challenging part. Seeing it all gradually come together has been incredibly
rewarding,” Harrison said.

The Marriage of Figaro continues through July 26th. The second Festival production, Dead Man Walking, opens July 5th and runs in repertory through the 25th.

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